Tales from Korea #1

It’s been an action packed 48 hours; coaches, buses, planes, 5,519 miles, media cameras, gifts, fireworks, the Haka and the pink panther singing Muse… but let’s rewind back to Thursday 24th…

We met at the Park Inn Hotel (near Heathrow) at 1.30pm where a coach took us to the Korean Ambassador’s special residency.

The team was in high spirits and looked fighting fit in their tracksuits.

Ready for it!

Ready for it!

On Thursday 24 January, we were given a warm welcome by His Excellency Ambassador Park and Madam Shin who put on a delightful spread of tea, sandwiches and cream cakes.

They even made two special cakes to celebrate the bond between the two nations.

You don't get these from Gregg's

Special delivery from Gregg’s


Sky Sports and ITV popped down for a cuppa and a slice of cake too, ITV even wrote a lovely article about it which you can read  if you click here

The team exchanged gifts with His Excellency, signed the guest book and hopped back on the coach to the hotel where Gaye Barber, National Volunteering Manager Special Olympics GB read out some good luck messages from David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Sir Alex, Arsene Wenger, Martin Jol and Ed Miliband.

Who are these people?

Who are these people?

Can you guess who the three good luck messages are from in the photo?

It was then time for dinner, showers and bed before our big flight tomorrow…

Our flight was certainly an international affair, we were joined by Special Olympic teams from Belgium, Netherlands, Norway and San Marino.




Here’s Mikael with one of the athletes from Special Olympics Belgium before we took off.

Mikael and Special Olympics Belgium athlete

Mikael and Special Olympics Belgium athlete

Flight was lovely, we got upgraded to Premium Economy so the extra leg room made all the difference. We arrived in Korea at 9am local time, the sun was shining, the snow was pure white – it looked incredible. The airport looked like a Special Olympics Airport, we bumped into a lot of other athletes including Special Olympics Venezuela.

Bobby and Venezuela

Bobby and Venezuela

Once through customs and we had collected our luggage, we were greeted by cameras, cheers and big welcome signs which was lovely. We were straight onto the bus and taken to the Welcome Centre for some gifts, more cheers, lunch and a game of dress up.

Elizabeth and Wayne while Mikael flirts with the local ladies

Elizabeth and Wayne while Mikael flirts with the local ladies

It was then back onto the coach for a two-hour journey to Vivaldi Park where we are currently staying for two days. We were greeted this time by music, of two very different sorts I must say. The first song was delivered by a Korean bloke dressed as the Pink Panther singing a Muse song through a walkie-talkie – I kid you not!

I couldn’t resist a photo.

Me and Matt Bellamy aka the Pink Panther

Me and Matt Bellamy aka the Pink Panther

Next up was a song from the Special Olympics New Zealand team who we are sharing the same floor with in Vivaldi Park. They’re a lovely bunch and wrote a song which went to the tune of Sweet Chariot, little do they know that we have our own little song up our sleeves…


We had a lovely meal that evening with the Kiwi’s and were treated to a special performance of the Haka after our dinner which was mind-blowing. It was certainly a day of treats as we were then told that the hotel had arranged for a fireworks display especially for us which we watched from our balconies overlooking the slopes – a fitting end to our first day in Korea.


It was then off to bed for a good night’s rest and to hopefully get rid of our jet lag. Everyone is in fine spirits and ready to hit the slopes for two days of intense training with Keith, Shaun and Alex.




This entry was posted in Muse, Music, Pink Panther, SOGB, South Korea and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Tales from Korea #1

  1. FLEUR O'DONOHUE says:


  2. Steve Ratheram says:

    Thanks Rob for the report, it sounds like you have had a great time with plenty to keep everyone occupied, looking forward to more from you and hopefully my No 1 blogger Candy, missing you all and wished I could have been to support and shout
    Steve Ratheram, CSIA Instructor, Father to Three, Grandfather to Ten nearly Eleven.

    • gayebarber says:

      Sounds like you are all having a blast already and the adventure has only just begun. Fantastic update Rob, and look forward to hearing more about the Pink Panther when you get back!

  3. Alan Lines says:

    I’m on my way, see you all soon.

  4. Kate Whitehead (Jane's sister!) says:

    Thank you so much for your update. I’ve been checking as often as possible to find out how you’re all getting on. It’s great to get so much news and to see so many fabulous photos. What a wonderful time you are having. Thank you again, Rob!

  5. spike says:

    Good Luck to all the Team

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